New powers bid to crack down on yob bother
A massive increase in anti-social behaviour in Lancaster city centre has prompted authorities to seek special measures to curb the problems.
Hotspots include the main thoroughfares through the city centre with an increase in the early hours of drunken behaviour and criminal related activity around the Cheapside and Church Street junction.
There has also been an increase in street drinking and anti-social behaviour in Market Square.
Action has already been taken to reduce anti-social behaviour due to the partnership working of local business and the police and intervention techniques put in place.
This includes public access wifi being turned off from 6pm across most of the stores in the city. This is a draw for young people who are mainly on pay as you go mobiles and have limited free internet access.
The police are also conducting home visits with young people who have been causing issues and parents spoken with and potential consequences of actions fully explained.
Now Lancaster City Council want to bring in a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which would provide police with the powers to stop people drinking and to confiscate alcohol.
This wouldreplace the current Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) – more commonly known as the No-Drinking Zone – that covers the city centre and is due to expire in 2017. Due to a recent increase in anti-social behaviour in the city centre, extra powers could also be included in the PSPO to help police deal with these issues.
In the last six months of 2015 there was an increase of youth related anti-social behaviour of 53 per cent and general anti-social behaviour of 22 per cent.
The PSPO would reinforce this work and send out a clear message that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in the city centre.
Chairman of Lancaster BID (Business Improvement District) Paul Cusimano said: “Lancaster is a beautiful and historic city we are all proud of and invest in.
“Its great that the city council and the police are listening and observing and taking
preventative measures and that this behaviour is dealt with by nipping it in the bud before it is an issue.
“Lancaster BID fully support it.”
Coun David Smith, cabinet member with responsibility for community safety, said: “We’ve already seen some positive results from the work that has taken place to tackle anti-social behaviour in the city centre, but it’s important that we use every tool at our disposal.
“Before introducing a PSPO we need to know what people think of the idea and want their views to help us come to a final decision.
“I would urge anyone with a view on the issues to get in touch.”
The consultation runs until Tuesday July 19.